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Nolan
Mon, Mar 30, 2020, 12:58pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Nepenthe

I just, I can't over state this, but the writer's insistence on tying every tragic backstory they came up with to the syth storyline and the higher-ups desire to avoid heavy continuity that would put off new viewers creates a scenario where Riker and Troi are neglectful, terrible people and Horrible parents.

Their son was dying of a silicon based disease that's easily curable with positronic science (okay) that's banned by the Federation. So they decide that a planet with regenerative soil might help. But their son still dies.

Why then, if they needed a planet with regenerative properties and/or experienced positronic scientists did they not walk through fire to get their kid to the Ba'ku, which they both know about, and know is a planet with regenerative properties so strong that it can regrow *eyes.*

I would think if they were truly desperate to save their son that would be among the first places they'd go, no matter what restrictions placed on interfering with the Ba'ku or the synth ban. That they didn't means they are, however unintended, awful, awful people now.
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Nolan
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 7:00pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Chris Lopez

Please note, my comment was less about Seven coming out to society and friends, but to herself.

I'm no authourity on this, but I do suspect that realizing one is gay would still involve a bit of personal disconsertion, even in the 24th century. It's a big moment of self discovery, and does require a change of any childhood preconcieved notions of family life and having children (Even if same-sex couples in the future are able to have children composed of their own and partners DNA, the method would probably be different) Surely it would not be as traumatic as today, especially for any youths on that path, but for those that realize it when they're older I would guess that'd still be personally difficult.

Especially for Seven, who for all of Voyager's run viewed things in very concrete, scientific, analytical ways. I doubt anyone in Seven's life would bat an eye at her coming out as bisexual, but I can see it as being a period of intense personal questioning and introspection for her, as she is still recovering from the abuse of the Borg. It's alegorically rife for commenting on attitudes of today. Even if she has the comfort of an accepting society.

(I really hope none of this offends anyone, I'm just speculating about what sexuality would, um, look like for lack of a better term, in a future that embraces all forms of it)
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Nolan
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 6:34pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

re: "Trek being at it's best with episodic stories"

This partially true, but also a little false. TNG played with ongoing plots; Kligon politis and Worf (which ran over two shows), Romulan intrigue (sadly not ever fully realized, and certainly not in this show); the Borg threat, dealings with Q; Soong and Lore, the Chrystalline Entity, the lives and deaths of Tasha and her daughter (also not fully realized), Riker and Troi's on again-off again relationship, Geordi and Leah Brahms, Ro's redemption and fall, Wesley and the Traveller. The Cardassians. So many on-going plots that carried throught the show. But these are not, for the most part, contiguous plot lines. They are story threads, peppered throughout the series, not continuing on one after the other, each chaper of them providing a whole narrative experience.

The same is true for DS9 and Enterprise when it comes to both of their longer story arcs, regardless of their successes or failings. Each episode by and large, functions as it's own entity, but with a place in the context of the on-going plot.

The Trek formula never really hurt when it came to ongoing plot threads or overarching narratives, beyond perhaps balance issues between wholly episodic tales and ones that picked up a thread. What people craved back then I think, in talking about stronger serialization and continuity was not a fundamental reorganization of how Trek told stories, but better character continuity over episodes. To avoid situations where Geordi can spend an episode being brainwashed, than fine next week, or Picard being tortured and it being fogotten about. (Although watching DS9's "Emissary" right after "Chain of Command" makes that conference rooms scene between Sisko and Picard sting that much more - "Dammit, I just got out of a Cardassian gulag and now this jerk throws Wolf 359 at me...") Or even O'Brien's 20 year prison stint and near suicide being brushed aside by the next episode. Those were all great episodes, marred only by their lack of impact.

Early reimagined Battlestar had the right idea in terms of narrative structure. Each episode had it's own plot, had some carry over into the next without affecting the episodic story and let the characters cope with fall out, and it was a very bingeable show. It wasn't until the show hit big turning points or was nearing it's end that the plot threads got tied off, or together into a more serialized format, much like DS9. That kept the shows fresh week to week, rather than dumping the audience in the deep end of an on going narrative that runs the risk of going stale.

Alas, TV largely seems to lack that nuance today.
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Nolan
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:59pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@ Tim
Haven't responded because a lot of what I would've said has been covered by others and I didn't want to pile on. Though I now see I should've labelled it "Pointless relationships" rather than what I did. They are there, they exist. But they do very little beyond that. They don't feel organic.
Honestly, Seven/Raffi would've been better served by some sidelong glances suggesting an interest rather than "We're holding hands now." It suggests the possibility and potential development rather than something that developed out of the seeming blue. It's not quite as bad as Seven and Chakotay suddenly being three dates in, but it's rhe same playbook.

Additionally, making Seven bi is a great idea, that like most in this show goes unexplored. Seven would have been perfect for showing what coming out to one's self looks like in a more accepting future. Especially later in life as Seven has always be a character about self-discovery. What does it mean to be gay to her, since for so long her world view was shaped by the practical? How would she cope with her burgeoning feelings not reconciling with her scientific view of sex as a biological, reproductive act and therefore homosexual relations not seeming to her to serve a purpose. These are all questions our society is struggling with as more conservative groups are faced with homosexuality in everyday society. It would also be the perfect catalyst for her more human growth we see in the series, way more than gruesome eyegouging.

As for Rios and Jurati, I'll be honest, I forgot abot them, such little an impact their coupling made on me, or the narrative.
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Nolan
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 5:13am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Booming
I mean, yeah, ditto to pretty much everything you said. I'd have ssaid it too, but did you *see* text wall comment I left? I was bound to leave something out. Haha. Plus critiques that deviate close to "virtue signalling" is a dangerous place to go as it can conjure certain... connotations of it's own if improperly conveyed. But yes, I'll add that to the tally:

Pointless gayness: Seven's bisexuality (I'm assuming) serves no purpose beyond itself. It's not needed for her revenge plot, nor is there any significance to it's invokation in the finale. It is there to be there. And muddles that even by presenting it in tandem with stories about broken people hung up on base emotions like revenge. Raffi's bisexuality is also poorly established and out of left field.

As for Nepenthe. I did describe it more favorably myself, but any praise for it should not be removed from the context of the series. If it seems like it's a good episode, it's only because it stands just that little bit above the garbage surrounding it. Suffice to say, I did not hate it. Nor would I say I liked it. (Riker, Troi, you know of a planet the regrows EYES... and given that their son was apparently 15 at the time of his death, according to background info it would've worked on him. Way to let your son die guys.)
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Nolan
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 1:25am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

@Marvin

Aw, thanks. Though going back I see a number of typos that slipped by me. Not grest for a post talking about upholding standards.

Also I fear that a post supporting PIC in opposion to mine may reveal a hypocrite in me. As much as I can say we should extend our opinions in debate with the aim of understanding, I'd be lying if I said that I'm not also partially hopeful that my words would cause some to switch their stance and agree with me. I'll also cop to feeling a bit of pride from your praise and Cody B's response - though that could just be chalked to some mild imposter syndrome on my part. Cheers all the same.

@ Cody B

Exactly. They've marked out the dots. They may have even narratively connected them, but the picture is so abstract so as to not carry any meaning. It's all very flat. And I'll admit, once this show lost me, I was going to be critical of it, and any attempts to win me back. I will say, Nepethe *was* the closest this show got to Trek. Reflection, meaningful dialogue, a removale from the world of the show back to the familiar one we had, though it was still changed - for one the characters spoke like they were in Star Trek and not a Joss Whedon show from next week (though that *does* have a place on TV, just not in Trek. Sorry everyone who wants Firefly Trek)

That said, I still prefer the book series Titan version of their daughter being Natasha (after Tasha) and they still had some loss from ptevious unsuccessful pregnacies due to events of "The Child" (although the book's origin and resolution of the Borg... ehhh)

But at the end of the day, it's all very flat. After Nepenthe there were two other less bad episodes, but they were still only rising above the mire. I didn't bother commenting those weeks because I felt no joy in it. And I guess the show didn't frusterate me enough those weeks to require the catharsis of ripping them apart for not living up to their predecessors.
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Nolan
Sun, Mar 29, 2020, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Pointless.

Pointless characters: Elnor just exists, Narissa is only there to snarl evilly. Soong Son. Basically the new crew are still very thin.

Pointless plots. Introducing a fatal brain defect that then gets undone. The entirety of the Borg Cube plotting. Seven momentarily becoming a Borg Queen. For no reason as it turns out. Absolute Candor Nuns (what happened to them?) The Romulan Refugee situation - that just disappeared, right around when the Romulans needed 218 Warbird pulled outta their...

Pointless deaths: Icheb, Hugh, Picard! Riker's Son. Icheb, because even though we had a whole movie about the folly of single-minded revenge (Khan) we have to get a main character to want it because it's "edgy." Hugh, well he just had the misfortune of running out of purpose while under the pen of incompetence. Picard, because emotional manipulation, PSYCH! Riker's kid because of course that's tied into the one-note series backstory (Also, they retired to a planet with regenerative soil in the hopes it'd save their son even though they know about the freaking BRIAR PATCH?)

Pointless music. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of the Berman moratorium of music during his tenure. There were some great, tense scores in the early years of TNG, and some that crept in and I'd have loved to get more. But my goodness the shmaltzy, sad piano tinkle that played throughout this series to tell the audience to be sad has got to go. I'm already feeling distance from these wafer characters, don't try to get me to emphasize with them by trying the emotionally manipulative music card. This isn't Full House guys, it's *supposed* to be Star Trek.

Pointless swearing. Because even though "just because we *can* do a thing, does not mean we *should* do a thing" is apparently the mindset of the childish, we have to prove how edgy and adult our show is by exercising the privilege bestowed upon us by streaming TV. Even if it doesn't track with pre-established ethos of the franchise.

Pointless deconstruction. Picard, like Disco, rips apart established Trek in a poor attempt at deconstruction but only as a means to serve flimsy plot. There is no wonder in things like synths/Romulans mindmelding or Seven being a Borg Queen. They just happen with no exploration of the ideas just to get to an arbitrary, underwhelming end point. It not just bad Trek, it's shoddy writing. They upended the world, broke out past the rules, or boundaries that establish what Trek is, not for a purpose, but simply because they didn't care to pay attention. That there is now labour and class divides at the heart of the Federation is shown, but not for any reason. That drug use and 20th century slang are back in wide use is used, but only as lazy writing or quick and dirty "characterization." And like, I get Patrick Stewart wanting a "Logan" scenario where he can send off his character on a high note and repeat that success with Trek, but people at the top just aren't talented enough to really pull that off.

Pointless "fanservice": Hey, did ya see that reference we made? See how we know what we're talking about? Yeah I saw. I also saw how you used that reference as a lazy narrative bridge to move your plot along, or as a patch over a plot hole you couldn't be bothered to truely address.

Pointless magical tech: This universe is now full of sh!t that goes unexplained and just works because it just does. Trek existed in a pseudo-rational state before 09 hit. Now we are presented with visually noisy, fatastical tech that exists as spectacle and nothing more. Yeah, Clark's law, sufficiently advanced blah, blah... Still doesn't explain why no one is awed by any of the seemingly magical tech going on around them. Picard who marvelled at Space jellyfish just lets telepathic robots pass him by as ho-hum. No spirit of adventure. In Trek the adventure is to see that magical technology and then *explore* it, and get an *understanding* of it. Whole episodes would be devoted to these things, and it'd make the universe feel more cohesive. Why? Because unexplained magical fantasy tech was always more Star Wars than Trek. In Trek, things didn't just "happen."

Pointlessly making me dread the announcement of new Star Trek. I was always hoping Trek would come back as I watched the world delve into polarization, paranoia and fear. Where people valued their own opinions above merely extending them in debate to reach understanding and cohesion with those they disagree with. Star Trek was all about that, aspirational more that relatable, warning against man's follies with allegorical alien while we arbitrated as those that grew past such things and could now guide others along the path. Theatrical morality plays rather than realistic dramatics. Instead Trek has become typical sci-fi adventure shlock with cheaps twists, flat, argumentative, flawed characters, mystery box writing and rote lip service to anything more substansive. Sneer all you want at "This is not Star Trek", but Trek was always about upholding one's principles and standards, even in trying times, and as a Trek fan, I hold it to a higher standard than the majority of television today can reach, because that is what the show taught me, so when I see it floundering, trying to be like what else is on TV nowadays, I'm gonna speak up and hold it to the higher standard I know it could reach.

There were moments throughout the show I liked. But they're far outweighed by the bad. Star Trek Picard does not reach that Trek standard. It exists. It is pointless.
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Nolan
Fri, Mar 27, 2020, 5:52am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 2

Ugh.
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Nolan
Sat, Mar 21, 2020, 5:04am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Et in Arcadia Ego, Part 1

How can a show this convoluted be so bland, uninspired and simplistic?

Oh no, an AI rebellion?! Haven't seen that in about a hundred thousand other sci-fi properties. Often better too. But here there seems to be no uniquness to the idea. It's just the unoriginal crux of the whole season apparently.

Oh, and can't forget the arbitrary big space battle that was promised for next week. For which I have no stake in, nor emotional investment. It's just *there.* Also, if the Romulans have 251 or whatever Warbirds... evacuate themselves? (Also, not feeling the very angular ship asthetics we got going on, Romulan Warbirds were always very swoopy)

Things are coming to a head and I just agressively don't care. Jeri Ryan's about the only good thing here because of her innate ability to elevate poor material, like she often did on Voyager. But we also seem to be sweeping right past Seven's cold-blooded murdering and not examining any ramifications of that, so that knocks things a bit.

Also waiting for Brent Spiner's character to be revealed as an upgraded Lore that's been effimg with everyone. (Woulda been better too)

And since I wasn't here last week, Admiral Clancy can, in I'm sure would be her own words, go f@$& herself.

Huh, I guess I do care. I hate this show. And no I can't explain why I keep watching it. I guess to see how it'll pee all over everything I personally value about Trek week to week. Which is about the only thing it does well.
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Nolan
Mon, Feb 24, 2020, 8:02pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Perhaps the reason shows aren't trying to teach morals or ethics or say that society can do better than it is but instead just sets out to entertain across the board is a growing movement of distrust and disrespect for intellectuals and mult-tiered discourse, either in those shows or spurred on by those shows - discourse that one would have to strive to step out of an intellectual comfort zone to fully understand - "why should I have to go out of my way learn something to participate in a conversation when the conversation shouldn't have the arrogance to talk above my level and instead be more inclusive?"

Contentment in ignorance - when the lesson should be "Its okay to not know or understand something, that just means you have something to learn today." Especially when there is an entire global network of information readily accessible at the fingertips of most people.

Do I truly think that? Not sure, just noodling it in my mind, curious what people might think.
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Nolan
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 9:58am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Mertov

Oh to answer your question a couple days ago, no, no paper. Just in that murky phase between getting my degree and employment. Plus I was travelling a couple days ago, so I've had some more time than usual lately. I wish I could spend it praising and defending my favorite franchise, but alas, t'was not to be.
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Nolan
Sun, Feb 23, 2020, 9:36am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Capitalism as an established system pretty much died out for humanity in Star Trek cause we blew it up in WW3. Sure, it's vestiges may have dragged on past that until First Contact, but by that point it was weakened to the point where getting rid of it and replacing it with something else wouldn't be as difficult as today. All the ways these new shows try to act contemporary doesn't jibe with the idea that to have gotten to the more idealistic future, all our contemporary behaviours and attitudeswould have lead us to near annihilation - tearing it down to build it back up.
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Nolan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 5:49pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@A A Roi

Oh, don't mind me, I'm just raging, raging against the dying of the light. I will not go gentle into that [dark] night. ;-)

No, but in all seriousness, I'm not averse to dark storytelling, BSG is one of my all time favorite series (yes, I know that's also not what fans of the original wanted, such hypocracy) and DS9 is always jockeying for position among my top 3 Treks. But something about the darkness in Disco and PIC to me feels just a bit too mean-spirited in regards to what came before.(not to mention the visual inconsistencies discussed ad infinitum)

So far these past two shows have taken all the things that were meaningful to me about the older Treks and essentially eviserated them, and continue to do so. Maybe not important to fans such as yourself, but a big part of why the fanchise is important to me. I know it's not, but for these new shows to continually ignore those things. it almost feels personal at this point. (Not really, just some attempt at humourous hyperbole)
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Nolan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 4:37pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

@Mertov

To be honest, at this point I think it's this comment section and the "essays of hate" that keep me watching, just so I can collect more evidence to support my arguement in the ongoing debates. When my profs would talk about "hate-watching" as a form of audience interaction in my classes on pop culture and audience reception, I scoffed. If only I knew.

But I had a sudden realization about why this show exists. It's so Patrick Stewart can get the "Logan" experience he had for Professor X, but for Picard. A dark future, troubled past, and harsher rating that allowed for more graohic violence and language. Logan was an emotionally fufilling movie, and had great pathos. But it also was part of a floundering franchise that had a rapidly varying ethos, while Trek was 700 stories strong and established a largely consistant ethos. "Logan" could afford to stand out and had the writing to support it - ST: Picard does not and at least in this fans opinion, cannot. Or rather, it stands out a bit *too* much.

I'm again, also annoyed that so many are treating Episodic and serialization as an either/or issue. There's episodes that exist as their own thing, episodes that tell a story but advance a story thread, episodes that have carry through for the characters moving forward, episodes whose plots push the main plot foward or episodes that exist only as a piece of the one overaching plot. I feel Trek should avoid the last, but has plenty of room to be compelling with the rest. But those aren't trendy or as lucrative for streaming services.

For me, nuTrek is flailing and in the throes of a deep identitty crisis. It doesn't know what to be or where it fits in this new TV landscape.
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Nolan
Fri, Feb 21, 2020, 3:35am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Stardust City Rag

Sigh.

Well, I guess this episode was paced pretty good. And I do really like that Seven and Picard actually had a chance to talk about their common past. Although such an exchange in old Trek would've been a whole episode, comparing and contrasting their experiences, both in being Borg, and their coping mechanisms. But, no time for that.

Anyways, in this episode of Stellar Journey, disgraced ex-admiral Packart finally arrives at his destination, a wreched hive of scum and villainy. There he must use his new companion Numeral Designation, Meral for short, as a bargaining chip while Meral has her own plans for revenge for the death of her boy, Chub. At the same time Raffi attempts a familial reconnection, Rios must stretch his pimp muscle in a startling impersonation of Kramer from that one episode, and Agnes reveals secrets of the past, and the Ramaldan conspiracy grows ever dee- oh, what's that? We got the rights to the trademark? Our knockoff Trek is officially recognized? Whoo!

Man, Icheb. I really grew to appreciate him on my last VOY watch. Shame we'll never get him and Nog on-screen. And what a pointless and utterly transparent "shock the audience" death it was. (Though not for me, thanks to @Dave in MN's all caps declaration and my forgetting it was Thurday this morning, way to rob me of being angry about that. XD)

And speaking of Nog, the start of this episode stirred some odd feelings, as both Nog and Icheb were great, optimistic for the future, determined, and successful characters. And due to unfortunate events, now both of them, one fictionally, the other sadly all too real, are gone. It is a sad metaphor of what Trek has lost.

But Icheb's unfortunate demise in this episode, and the similarities to Nog got me thinking of "What We Left Behind," the DS9 documentary and the Season 8 episode 1 pitch meeting held by a number of the writers within it. In that, Nog too was brought back just to die. But that at least seems like it would've acted as a catalyst for whatever new story they would've been kicking off, as well as greatly affecting all the characters who were all there and saw it happen.

Compare that to Icheb, whose death solely serves as backstory motivation for Seven in a way that so far feels incredibly tangental, and somewhat demeaning, as it points to a common sci-fi trope: women who are badass only because of motherly instincts, hi Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley!

There's no reason that it had to be Icheb. In fact, I'd argue that it'd be better if it wasn't. What if Seven had spent her Post-Voyager life seeking out and helping former Borg reaclimate to individual life? Putting her heart and soul into it. Then the former Borg begin being hunted and all Seven built is destroyed. She's looking for revenge for that, disilluioned, perhaps while Icheb quits Starfleet to try and serve as her moral compass and keep her from falling into a rut. Thus, the scenario of Seven and Icheb would parallel and contrast Picard and Raffi's at least, giving the proceedings more weight and thematic relevance.

Instead we get Picard's giving up being a sort of catalyst for the creation of a lawless region in the former Neutral Zone, leaving behind disillusioned people and providing a place where despicible people can flock to set up black market trade, ultimately leading to the death of a former character - Icheb. Given all the people berating Picard for giving up and the chain of events spawned from that, I have to ask; are the writers trying to make us *hate* Picard? Is that what this is? Picard, and the optimisim he represents being $#@t upon? Because I don't see how this series represents optimism like they say it does. Not at all. Not when this show is constantly taking every optimistic aspect of the past and twisting it into darkness. The common Trek ethos has yet to return, sadly.

(As for "Classic Trek," I was taking it more in a Coca-Cola Classic way, not so much a "that series is a classic" one)
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Nolan
Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 2:33am (UTC -5)
Re: ENT S2: Regeneration

@Frank

It's interesting you say this, because I've been taking my friend through Trek for his first time in an abbreviated chronological order, and though he knew *of* the borg, and Seven and that they were the bad guys (of Voyager), he doesn't know much else than that. So it was supremely interesting watching this one with him.

At first he wasn't even sure it was the Borg, though he heavily suspected it. By the end of the episode it was all but confirmed. He said it was a good introduction for them, and I might agree because it makes for a ramping up of suspense from this to 'Q Who'. We'll see what effect, if any this has on 'The Best of Both Worlds' when we get there.

Something else my friend noticed was how this episode tied in with the episode 'Judgement' somewhat. In that episode there was a lot of talk about Archer's character of naivete, and trying to save everyone and kinda bending over backwards to be good (excepting Dear Doctor which I skipped cause of it's murky attempts at PD discourse.) Here in this episode though, as my friend noted, Archer was getting a touch more ruthless, spacing the Borg onboard the Enterprise instead of taking whatever risk he could to save them and his ship.

This was likely unintended, but it was fascinating to me given what happens in Season Three, and it certainly made it so that Archer's actions in one of the early episodes of that season were less jarring for my buddy.

To be honest, I've always suspected Enterprise might work better an an introduction to Trek than a prequel end-capper, excepting a number of episodes that are sub-par retellings of earlier, later stories. For one, all the 'Trek-tropes' built up over the TNG/DS9/VOY run are new instead of tired, and much as I hate the contemporariness of dialogue and behaviour showcased by humanity in more recent series, here being so early, it makes sense that some of that type of thing would still exist here, though it's blended well with the culture established by those shows, allowing to act both as a stepping stone in the development of humanity into how it was in previous series while also providing a more grounded starting point for any new (and especially wary) fans
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Nolan
Mon, Feb 17, 2020, 11:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Oh, yes, that's right, thanks for reminding me Jammer, the return of beam based weapons. I also liked that. I have no idea why they tilted so hard into the laser toots of the last several years, they sounded ridiculous and for me at least, were less dynamic. If I had to guess they were logistically easier to write for. Because I'm at a point now where it's not at all hard for me to imagine the writers taking the easiest way possible.

And please note, while I never try to insult those that do enjoy the shows, if my ranting does come across like I'm putting down those that do, it's unintended. My rants are always towards the production side of the shows. If I call the writing simplistic, uninspired or poorly thought out, that is aimed squarely at the skills and motivations of the writers, not those that can find enjoyment in the work.

I know that what I value about Trek and hold up as foundational to the franchise is not going to be shared by everyone. I'm glad others can be serviced by what I view is trying to pass as Trek today, but I am not going to sit quietly by and allow what I value about Trek to go unrepresented. It may not save the Nu movies, or Disco, or Picard, but it puts those needs of mine out there so that there can be an awareness out there so that someday a Trek might come along that does better serve what I view Trek as needing to be.
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Nolan
Mon, Feb 17, 2020, 3:12am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@wolfstar

I know I'm one of the most vocal proponents of the Trek that was, and how the nu shows have strayed too far from the visions of the classics but, candor being absolute here, Gene's vision for the 24th Century nearly strangled TNG to death in it's early years.

That said, I think it provided a good foundation and boundaries that the writers of the older shows respected enough to play within, push, and sometimes stray outside of to add more texture to Trek. But for me personally the nu series have strayed so far beyond those boundaries that Trek right now is a block or two away from the backyard of the "Trek vision", so much so that I myself would find it feasible to change all the character/alien species/technology names and have a different, stand alone show that doesn't need 50+ years behind it. It may as well be a different franchise.

I dunno, maybe it's that old, stick a frog in a pot of cool water, slowly turning up the heat so he doesn't know he's boiling versus just cranking it and having him freak out type of thing. Maybe if there had been series detailing the regression of humanity, this series wouldn't strike such a nerve with me. But then the writing would be serving a narrative focus in that scenario, whereas I don't think there's anyone there in the writers' room paying that much attention.

That being said, I'm glad the catsuits seem to be gone. And much as ENT floundered at first, I still liked it, though that's less due to B&B and more Manny Coto. Ithink the show found its footing by the end, which makes it a shame in never got to show off it's true potential, as I think the franchise may have recovered after a year or two.
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Nolan
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 2:42pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Wow. Irony, talking about languages and having all those typos. That's what I get for composing this on my phone with my contact lenses out. :-)
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Nolan
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 2:38pm (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@Bold Helmsman

Okay, then let us look at Trek history.

World War 3, 60? Million dead, few governments, likely a lot of squalor. Due to the likely damage to the required infrastructure it's highly probable there is no broadcastible form of entertainment, so out goes television, the internet was likely obliterated, so no streaming, memes, user-generated content nor social media. Due to nuclear fallout and EMPs, most digital formatted media is rendered unusable. So due to the destruction of the means to access and run most forms of popular culture and entertainment. There is no longer a means to create and widely propagate slang terms and create cultural identity. Some does survive, but mostly as examples of days past.

(This is also why holo-communication in Disco bothered me, as apart from the advent of Warp Drive, I'd imagine WW3 hampered technological development somewhat. Humanity was starting over somewhat from from a point pre-war and had to build back up to that)

Anyway, along come the Vulcans, who speak *very* formally. Not to mention the use of cross species communication, translators and linguistic databases. The culture humanity does have to share is likely the classics, things protected by the rich during the war. And that's likely stuff Vulcans would gravitat to over more recent examples. Not to mention humanity trying to put it's best face foreward on the galactic stage. So our language gets more formalized to help communicate on the galactic stage. (Consider morst recent sci-fi has dealt mostly with human-centric narratives, Firefly, BSG, the Expsnse - no aliens to try and learn languages from)

So the Vulcans help us out, likely offering limited humanitarian aid across the globe and spuring on reconstruction. Money has no value to Vulcans, and there's probably no widescale banking system or economy left anyway, so out goes the money, and with it, the wealth based classes. Humanity has a blank page to start on. And we wanna go to space. Or pursue whatever interests us. No point in jobs anymore butvas a means to do what you want. No one is getting paid.

We can make the supposition that some form of datanet is probably reconstructed but unlike the internet todays, it's mostly just to redistribute knowledge across the globe, and again, most of what survived is physical, analogue media.

Then humanity spreads through the stars on a VAST scale. It can take *weeks* to recieve correspondance, communication methods are SLOW again. There's no way slsng is going to spead across the whole of the human race. What might make sense on one colony is gobbledy-gook to another. That would hamper interstellar relations, so most correspondance would be formalized, spurred on by the comings and going of Starfleet and a unified dictionary. Universal translators would also play a role in smoothing out these edges, likely papering over any slang terms to get a message across succinctly.

And remember Gene's creedo for the future: "In the 24th century there will be no hunger, there will be no greed, and all the children will know how to read." - it's commonly known that the more one reads, the more expansive one's vocabulary becomes.

So why would the characters in TOS and TNG eras NOT talk the way they do?
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Nolan
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 5:08am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

@Daniel, psst, even if I didn't explicitly name drop "The Way to Eden" I did obtusely mention it when I referred to an episode where the guest cast DID talk like that and the episode essentially ridiculed them for their way of life, and had them come to an unfortunate end due to their lifestyle, based on the hippie movement of the era. It does NOT change my point. Particularily since that was an outlying subset of people, set apart from the rest of society and looked down upon by the majority of 23rd Century society and who also only appeared in ONE episode. Unlike here they were *not* presented as the norm.

It is also a not well regarded episode given how clearly the allegory is meant to be about the free love movement and thus dates the episode whereas a more nuanced attempt at allegory may not have succumbed to such kitsch. HERBERT!

I can understand some outlying Federation worlds/colonies being more contemporary and less ideal, but not to the extent they've regressed back to our time in terms of behaviour, and certainly not at the heart of the Federation.

I mean, if anyone wants to talk about "sheer fucking hubris", I'd say it's right there in how the writers of Picard portray 21st Century behaviour as the apex, enlightened, evolved human behaviour that lasted for another 300 years and was so apparently perfected we stagnated in our growth because how we act now is what is gonna lead us to world peace, get us to the stars, and allow us to form an intergalactic community based sround co-operation. Yeah, I don't think so. I don't look at the world right now and think: "Well, we've finally made it." Nah, I see uncaring despots in power, overworked, underpaid product focused labour forces, billionares on their laurels, petty internet squabbles that are more focused on trying to get the quippiest, "gotcha!" comebacks that are more geared to generating worthless Like status and which have now worked their way onto the political stage, not to mention the melting icecaps and I think; "We got a long way to go."

*That's* why I hate how the writers have f#$&ed with Trek, why it really ticks me off and *that's* why I think it misses the point of Star Trek and proves itself not to be what it's trying to pretend to be.
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Nolan
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 3:16am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Absolute Candor

Whew, finally caught up on all this discourse.

It's hard for me to comment on what I actually do like about these episodes as I find I have to continually narrow it down. I'd think, I'm liking everything that doesn't involve the main crew, as I hate the contemporary portrayal of humans in this series, but the I remember that I don't really care for the Borg Cube based blasé plot. So I say, I enjoy theRomulan culture stuff, but I hate the concept of the Zat Vash or whatever they're called because the Tal Shiar was intruiging all on it's own (best Troi episode ever) nor do I like that they actually went with the supernova backstory, and I'm certainly not fond of Spaceoglas, even if I was enjoyinging the backstory between him and Picard (who probably had to warm to kids once Troi and Riker started poppin' em out) So what it boild down to is: I like the Warrior space nuns. It's a nice wrinkle to the Romulan's treachery/deceit cap and give it a nice wide brim of additional culture. Too bad we couldn't see it in action on a functioning Romulus and how it fit in on a gestapo run world struggling with ideas of Unification.

Alas, we have the rest of the episode to consider; Underwhelming. There, episode considered.

I don't know about everyone else, but when I talk about the poor portrayal of humanity in this series, I feel people are conflating that with the actions of Starfleet/the Federation. But I'm not talking about that at all. Back in episode one when I still had hope I laid out how the Federation may have arrived at it's decision based on recent in-universe history. I get THAT. Those are problems with the bureaucracy and the system. What I DON'T get is how every human we've seen from dockworkers to admirals, ex-starfleet to news reporters has backslide away from the ideals and culture established as 24th Century.

Sure, the Enterprise was the best of the best, PROFESSIONALLY speaking, but the culture of humanity throughout the other shows remained consistant and coherant. On Voyager the height of fun was an Irish town! Or a rather tame pool hall. Or a beach resort. And even on DS9, at the very frontier of the Federation where you'd expect human culture to be the most distant from the core worlds, where a moody disgraced commander, and troubled war vet with his new family were assigned, they still maintained that 24th century culture. "Hey, let's go to the holosuite and play baseball, or Bond, or play battle simulations or hang out in a vegas lounge!" And they all read and play music and practice arts and played Parrisies Squares.

They don't all need to be confrontational, adversarial or gritty for this story and scenario to have occured. Instead of this bog standard story they could've pushed their allegory further to include the apathy and indifference of good people who allowed their own contentment to blind them to the needs of others. Not some malicious intent as has been presented so far, just a lack of awareness on the part of good people that made a poor choice.

Nope. Instead now they drink to excess, vape, smoke cigars, swear, watch(?) Holos, and throw out 21st century slang? Just to make the allegory clear and update the world to today's standards? WHAT?!?

Hey, do you guys remember in TOS when Kirk or Bones would add "man" or "dude" on to the ends of sentences, or talk about getting out from the thumb of "the man" of the Federation? Or when they came across a beautiful space phenomenon they'd remark "outta sight!" Or "fab!"? Or reflect on the episode's events as "righteous" or "groovy"? Or when Kirk thought a woman he met was "choice"? No ya don't, cause the writers were smart enough to distant the portrayal of the human characters from the culture, language and attitudes of the times cause they KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING. In fact, in the episode where the guest characters even remotely talked like that, they were ridiculed.

Okay, okay, okay. Maybe you'll all remember in TNG/DS9/VOY when they went to warp on their next adventure with a; "let's dip!" Or when they saw a cool space anomaly and described it as "hella cool", "radical", or "fly"? Or when Harry asked Tom how he was and Tom said "aiight." Or when the crew sent Picard to Risa and wondered if he'd "get jiggy"? Or when Chakotay answered hails with "sup?" No you don't because that's not how humans in the future were concieved as behaving. Because the writers knew you DIDN'T NEED THAT FOR THE CHARACTERS TO BE RELATABLE. That's why Trek has managed to remain (largely) timeless and gain new fans after FIFTY years. And when the Voyager crew ended up in the 90's, they were ridiculed for not blending in with the times.

No one would come to Trek now if the old series were mired in the culture of the time they were made. And they weren't made like that because humanity in Trek is supposed to be culturally, socially different and improved from the time it was made. To throw that out so the allegory of the issues the new series wants to tackle and their character more identifiable to the audience misses the entire, f#&@ing point of Star Trek. *sigh*

I liked the world classic Trek built. It was applicable to common issues, relatable, but escapist and theatrical and dramatic. Each episode was more like a play than a film. Now I just feel like Benny Russel, screaming from the floor about how real this world was and how it can't be taken from me. To hell with Kurtzman, and to hell with CBS. Okay, perhaps that's a little overly dramatic, haha, but it is really frusterating to have this aspect of something you love that gives so much value and meaning to it for you just be completely ignored by those who get to write for it now. And I think that's where the new v. old fan debate comes from.

Think of it like this: You and your friends are on the playground as kids and you've brought all your toys and together you build a narrative and consruct the world and it's rules that you then play out with your toys whose characters you've all created and there's so much meaning in it for you. Then, along comes some other kid, who seems to be enjoying the make-believe, but then he wades in claims ownership of the toys and starts making new stories with them in your world, but jettisonning any aspect he doesn't like because "they were stupid" or "this way is better" and more kids come and watch his stories and suddenly all those aspects that were a part of that built world are forgotten and lose meaning to everyone else even if they were so important to you. And it can be frusterating when something so important to you is disregarded by others, either through unawareness or lack of interest in that aspect. So there might be some bruised feelings.

And the fact I used an issue about children playing perhaps highlights the childishness of the whole issue. Is it childish to have any modicum of intense feelings over a TV show not living up to your standards? Let's be honest, it totally is. But the point is it's also just as childish to wade in, claim ownership of a previously established fiction, throw out what is felt doesn't work and disregard the value of that fiction to those who came before. So no one is really right in the new fan/old fan debate. Especially since, as fans, our ownership to this fiction and it's lore is tenuous at best.

Hopefully one day I'll get my distanced, escapist theatrical, optimistic and guide post of a future back and the damage to it by the new stuff isn't too bad.

(As for the swearing being due to the streaming format as opposed to previous broadcast standards, I always think of that line from the Federation President in STVI: "Just because you *can* do a thing, does not necessarily mean you *should* do that thing. Or I'll put my foot up your @$$, you dumb@$$.")
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Nolan
Sat, Feb 8, 2020, 3:58am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: The End Is the Beginning

I saw it. I made noises of angry exclamation at my TV. This is NuTrek.

Only this time it uses paltry unearned snippits of themes and iconic lines to try and emotionally manipulate our nostalgia into covering it's failings.

This episode was actually marginally better than last week. But it's becoming ever clearer that CBS never wanted to make new Star Trek, they just wanted to jump on the "gritty space opera, used future, contemporary people in space" show bandwagon.

Wagon Train to the Stars > Horatio Hornblower in Space > The Space Rifeman > Gilligan's Star Island > It's a Wonderful Space Life > Bandwagon to the Stars.

I'm not surprised by this... but it's sad how blatant it is. There's no innovation here. No joy. No pride in the product that I've seen really. It's the same as everything else on TV. Just with "Star Trek" slapped upside it's head. And yes, I AM arguing that repeating what Trek has done before would be innovative. I'd really like a hopeful space show to stand out amonst all the decayed, dreary, beaten down humanity sci-fi out there.

I dunno, maybe Trek will weather this the way comics do, firing a writer and retconning all their garbage through the machinations of a bored cosmic being. Q? Where you at? What'd you do to the universe? Or do we need to call Temporal Investigations in here?

Conviently, I've just come up with a nice visual representation for this era of nuTrek; Bones right after he's beamed to the ship for the first time in TMP, in bellbottoms and beard and big dangly necklace. Contemporary to the times and just as ridiculous as the way humans act all curent day in these shows. He was the picture of the the disco era. Or rather, a DiscoPic - which you should not send unsolicited. No one wants to get a DiscoPic.

On the other hand, I saw "1917" tonight and it was amazing. Masterful cinematography. Brutal in places, tender in others. Tense. Characters with enough to them to latch onto, but not so much that they overtake the narrative. Effective sound design and music to convey the entirety of the situations that stretch beyond the purposefully limited perpective the camera provides. 1917 knew what kind of film it was trying to be, knew the legacy behind it and the importance of upholding that legacy and respecting it while also taking a hard look at what that legacy was built on - the horrors of war, and it did justice to all of that while remaining compelling. At least, I think so. You should see it.
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Nolan
Wed, Feb 5, 2020, 2:52am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Maps and Legends

Definitely a reason Roddenberry started his fictional universe off with a huge World War that killed most people off. Whose gonna argue about -isms when ya gotta find food to eat and radioactive fallout to avoid.

That said @Omicron, like Booming, I too am coming around to your thinking about politics in Trek a bit. I still think it SHOULD look at the issues of the day, as all Trek I'd argue has, but it needs to avoid the trap of falling to one side or the other in it's outlook and be real critical of the arguements and rhetoric around those issues. I'm pretty sure the only really blatant time Trek didn't was "The Way to Eden" which seemed to boil down to "stupid hippies."

Most of the time Trek seems to look at an issue, bang the heads of the opposing sides together, say "look how stupid you guys are being" then do it's best to find a solution that's the best fit for the context of the situation. Doesn't always seem to work, but it was always about common ground or moving on, or realizing the emotions, fears or driving force behind the issues and bringing them to light so people could I guess get a new persepective on things while still letting them do the critical thinking.
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Nolan
Mon, Feb 3, 2020, 5:25am (UTC -5)
Re: PIC S1: Maps and Legends

@Booming Devil's advocate counterpoint: DS9's season 2 episode, Sanctuary. Though that episode has it both ways in a very Treky way. Helping refugees, but in a way that doesn't overburden Bajor, but leaves said Refugees disappointed. Not sure that's pro, con or a wash when it comes to refugee debates. (But also, classic Trek was also talking about refugee issues back then, so that's not characteristic of new Trek either. I think I'm messing up this whole counterpoint thing)
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